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In our first reading this weekend of Aug. 14-15, we experience the fantastic imagery found in Revelation 12, where a woman gives birth to her son, while the dragon stands by, waiting to devour the child. The son, however, is “caught up to God and his throne,” and “the woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God” (Rv 12:5b-6a).
They both escape the grasp of the dragon! The woman, clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars, is revealed as a cosmic queen. Her child is destined to rule all the nations. Thus, the Church has fittingly seen this pairing as an image for Mary and her son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The dragon, an ancient image of Satan, stands waiting to destroy. Additionally, it is fitting to see in the image of the dragon all that Satan brings with him: sin, death, confusion, division.
It is readily and easily acknowledged that Jesus Christ would rise above these things and conquer them. The rest of humanity, since Adam and Eve fell, however, had been in the grasp of Satan. Christ rescued us from Satan’s power through the cross. Unfortunately, we still struggle with sin, we experience the corruption of death, it is difficult to always discern the way forward with clarity, and there are often divisions among ourselves. Yet, the woman in Revelation 12 escapes the dragon entirely. She has a place prepared by God in the desert. Our Lady, through a singular privilege of grace, was preserved from the contagion of sin and its consequences. Thus, it is fitting that she also remains utterly free from the grasp of the dragon. The feast of the Assumption celebrates this fact with a particular focus on Mary being preserved even from the corruption of death. When her earthly life was completed, our Lord brought her immediately, body and soul, into the Heavenly Kingdom, to that place prepared for her by God. This is good news for us! For, our Lady experiences preemptively what we long for at the fulfillment of the age.
St. Paul this weekend will talk about how “(Christ) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15: 25-26). In this present day and age, we live still experiencing many effects of the Fall. Christ has come, conquering sin and death through his cross. The victory is his, yet the definitive fulfillment of this victory is not yet here. Mary serves as a sign of hope to us Christians now. Her preservation from sin was a foreshadowing of the grace of the cross; her Assumption serves as a foreshadowing of the bodily resurrection that we long for at the end of the age.
As we celebrate Mary’s Assumption this weekend, we recall how the “Virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven as the beginning and image of your Church’s coming to perfection and a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people” (Preface for the Assumption), and we pray that we “through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom (Christ) assumed into heaven, we may be brought to the glory of the resurrection” (Prayer After Communion for the Assumption). On this feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, let us look to Mary so that we may remain hopeful in the Lord’s promise to guard and protect us from Satan’s grasp, and that the Lord will raise us up on the last day.
Father Froehle is pastor of St. Michael in Farmington. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sunday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Rv 11: 19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
- 1 Cor 15: 20-27
- Lk 1: 39-56
Tags: Assumption, Mary’s Assumption
Category: Sunday Scriptures
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